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Sep 11, 2023
How I Negotiate With Clients on Upwork, Using These 5 Steps

As a freelancer on Upwork, negotiating your worth is crucial for building a profitable and sustainable freelance career. Good negotiations can boost your earnings and create long-lasting relationships with clients.


Here are 5 steps to help you confidently navigate project negotiations with your clients on Upwork:




Before entering any negotiation, it's essential to research the market rates for your skills and expertise. I used to look up the average fees charged by freelancers with similar qualifications and experience as mine and decide my fee accordingly. Understanding your value in the marketplace will give you the confidence to assert your fee during negotiations.


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  • Highlight Your Unique Selling Points:


During negotiations, focus on showcasing the unique selling points that set you apart from other freelancers. I always made sure to tell my clients about my success stories & experience. Emphasizing your experience, specialized skills, and any achievements that demonstrate your ability to deliver exceptional results could convince clients to pay for your premium skills. 


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  • Gather Project Details:


The first thing I used to do before meeting with any client was to do research on the project and be well-prepared to present my strategy. To negotiate your project fee effectively, gather as many project details as possible. Understand the client's objectives, scope of work, deadlines, and desired outcomes. This will help you align your fee with the project's specific requirements.


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You cannot provide a bland proposal to the client and quote a high project fee. That never works. Instead, provide a well-structured and detailed proposal that justifies your project fee. 


Break down the project into milestones or deliverables and explain the effort, time, and resources required for each stage. 

Explain how your expertise will contribute to the project's success and fulfill the client's goals.


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I cannot remember the number of times when I had to compromise with the clients because this is how negotiations work. Be open to discussing alternative payment structures, such as hourly rates or retainer fees, if the client is concerned about the overall project cost. You might not always get what you ask for so instead discuss, find, and, settle for a common bridge that satisfies both you and your client. However, ensure you set clear boundaries to protect your time and effort. Avoid underselling yourself or agreeing to an unsustainable fee.


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Negotiating your fee with clients on Upwork is a skill that you learn with time and patience. It took me quite a few months but this one skill has significantly impacted my freelance career. Remember that successful negotiations lead to strong, long-term client relationships. Approach negotiations confidently, knowing that your skills and expertise are valuable, and you are well-prepared to deliver exceptional results for your clients on Upwork. Happy negotiating!